Henrique Hilario’s playing contract ends this summer following eight years as a Chelsea Football Club goalkeeper.
The Portuguese arrived on a free transfer ahead of the 2006/07 season, signed by Jose Mourinho, and was backup to Petr Cech and Carlo Cudicini.
With both Cech and Cudicini out injured, he made his debut in a Champions League home match against Barcelona, and it proved a debut to remember as Hilario turned in an impressive performance, keeping a clean sheet in a 1-0 win. With first and second-choice keepers remaining out, he went on to make another 17 appearances that season.
Christmas 2007 saw Hilario thrust back into the spotlight. With Cudicini out injured, he replaced Cech in a 1-0 win at Blackburn Rovers, also featuring in festive-period wins against Newcastle United, Fulham and Queens Park Rangers.
He would play once more during the 2007/08 campaign, coming on for the injured Cudicini in a Champions League game against Fenerbahçe at Stamford Bridge.
Ross Turnbull’s signing in the summer of 2009 meant he and the new arrival, with Cudicini now departed, shared deputising duties, although Hilario was called on more regularly in the early days.
He replaced the injured Cech during a Champions League game against Inter Milan at the San Siro in February 2010 and played against Manchester City the following weekend.
Having been ruled out of the return leg against Inter through injury, Hilario’s one appearance over the next 18 months came in a Community Shield defeat to Manchester United ahead of the 2010/11 season.
Hilario made two appearances early in the 2011/12 season, playing the full 90 minutes in victories against West Bromwich Albion and Norwich City, his last games in a Chelsea shirt. Last season he was an unused substitute on six occasions and in total he made 39 appearances, four as a sub, while representing Chelsea.
Everybody at Chelsea Football Club would like to thank Henrique for his huge contribution to the first team success over the past eight years.